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Photo Essay: Homage to the Squad

7:42 AM PDT on May 24, 2018

    Hunts Point – The Bronx

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]hroughout my years shooting spontaneously on the street, I have come to realize that some of my favorite pics have been of squads, cliques, crews, collectives, gangs, families, sets, and communities. You can use any noun you would like. When I shoot, I get inspired by the collective energy of a group of people representing brotherhood, sisterhood, family, community, friendship, and love.

    When I step up to a group of people in their element, there is a sense of confidence within the group. There is also a sense of energy. I ask them if I can take a pic and tell them to represent. I believe you can see for yourself what happens; the self-assurance and charisma that shines when a crew is representing.

    There are deeper meanings and layers to the picture; in a deeper context, I think it symbolizes an act of defiance against mainstream culture and institutions like police, district attorneys, and courts that have historically demonized and oppressed squads, crews, cliques, and collectives that are mainly from black and brown communities in working class, urban environments.

    Such unconstitutional acts like gang injunctions and stop-and-frisk have discouraged groups of black and brown youth from congregating in public. The full weight of the justice system, including harassment, and incarceration is used against groups that merely want to assemble.

    When I am out shooting and I come across a crew, I recognize the significance and power of people organizing and becoming a collective. I see the importance of community, family, culture, history, and knowledge that is shared and passed down amongst people.

    So this is a photographer's homage to the squad, crew, set, collective, or whatever word you feel is fitting...

    Boyle Heights
    Boyle Heights
    Spanish Harlem
    Spanish Harlem
    Crown Heights, Brooklyn
    Crown Heights, Brooklyn
    Bed Stuy- Brooklyn
    Bed Stuy- Brooklyn
    Venice Beach
    Venice Beach
    Hunts Point - The Bronx
    Hunts Point - The Bronx
    South Central
    South Central
    Hunts Point - The Bronx
    Hunts Point - The Bronx
    Watts
    Watts
    Boyle Heights
    Boyle Heights
    Westlake
    Westlake
    Compton
    Compton
    PS1 Queens
    PS1 Queens
    Tijuana
    Tijuana
    East Hollywood
    East Hollywood

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